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OP: Jean-Louis: Cooking With the Seasons

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by Fred J. Maroon

Thomasson-Grant, 1989. Hardcover. Near Fine in Good jacket. First printing.

French born chef Jean-Louis Palladin (1946–2001) was a bolt of lightning on the American food scene—a chef who understood his adopted country, cooked for its people, and won unqualified acclaim. 

Beyond doubt, his imagination was lasting, and the generation of chefs who knew or worked with him has continued to prove its strength. Many fine cooks, such as Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud, spent time in Palladin’s kitchen and readily attribute their own growth to his generosity as a teacher.

Opening a high-exposure restaurant in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, DC in 1979, Palladin showcased imaginative work using products from US sources—Maryland crabs, eels from Maine, California oysters, local wild greens and mushrooms. 

Ten years later, the distinguished photographer Fred Maroon, a devotee of Jean-Louis at the Watergate, persuaded the chef to assemble a book featuring his work and displaying it dramatically—glowingly lit from beneath and appearing as fresh and alive as it had been five minutes out of the kitchen.

One can hardly characterize the range of dishes, all arranged seasonally. We call attention to, choosing at random, the three-melon consommé with Sauternes, julienned vegetables, and mint; a salad of morels stuffed with Louisiana crawfish; prime rib with bone marrow flan, confit of onions in red wine, and sage potato chips; chestnut souffle with poached pears, apples, and peaches. 

Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons, originally published by Thomasson-Grant, was taken over by Lickle Publishing in 1997 in a virtually identical form and with equally superb production values. The large format book (over 10” x 14”) is a prize with a place in virtually any significant cookbook collection. 

There have been many spectacular looking celebrations of chefs’ work since that time, but this remains a model of creative energy—for both its culinary content and its artistic excellence.

Our copy is the first printing of the original 1989 Thomasson-Grant edition, the book block Near Fine. The jacket, rated only Good, shows shelf wear and closed tears to the fronta piece of clear tape on the spine, and is missing a hand-sized bit of paper from the rear, which has caused further creasing and tearing to that side—superficial damage that in no way diminishes the inspirational value within.

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